It’s infuriating to deal with an ex who plays part-time parent, then tries to buy your kids’ attention with expensive trips or concert tickets. Especially when you are struggling to make ends meet. No doubt, parenting with a Disneyland dad or mom is tough.
I try to be very happy for my boys. The fact that they are doing something with their Dad but he doesn’t really have to pay attention to them means I don’t have to worry about his mood and him ruining their time together. He doesn’t spend a lot of alone time with the boys. Usually has friends or his girlfriend over or does something with them where he doesn’t have to interact alone. My only guess is that the facade he has to keep up is easier when it is not done one on one with them.
There’s no way you can compete. Your financial situation is lopsided in favor of your ex but remember, the next time your kid has an issue, those concert tickets or electronics or house on the lake that was rented, won’t make it better. Those things are like nicotine to a cigarette smoker. A quick fix to make them feel better about their lack of relationship with the Narcissistic parent. The next time a problem rears up, it will be you they come to first. And if it is anything like me, I tell them they can tell their Dad. They don’t have to be afraid because if he gets upset or doesn’t approve of them in some way, they can just leave, come home and not deal with him but they should give him a chance to do what is right.
So it will always be me first who gets the news and I don’t even try to compete. I pride myself on being steady and consistent and I look at that time he has the kids as alone time for me to do with as I wish.
The Disneyland Dad persona will not stand the test of time. It may take a while for children to realize this but ultimately they will have more respect in the long run for the healthy parent who was stable, consistent and loving. I know that eventually my children will look at me and know that no matter what, Mom didn’t leave and Mom was there when they needed them. She couldn’t buy us concert tickets, but she loved us wholeheartedly for who we were and unconditionally and someday, that will stand the test of time.